If it is early September, it must mean a migration to the big mountains of Tibet and Nepal, however for 2017, the Tibetan high peaks will be quiet.
The Chinese have closed climbing throughout Tibet due to a “meeting” being held in the area. As usual the real reason remains elusive adding to the uncertainty to climbing in Tibet on any mountain in any season.
The world’s sixth highest peak at 26,907’/8201m, closed for 2017, is the second most popular 8000er after Everest with over 3,500 summits. Everest now has over 8,000 summits.
For many years, the Chinese government has made getting to Cho Oyu a gamble with random border closures and unannounced bans on climbing due to fears of protests involving Tibet.
Cho Oyu is generally regarded as one of the most “attainable” 8000 meter peaks with a straightforward climb to a huge flat summit and a dramatic view of Everest. It is often used as a climber’s first 8000 meter climb or as prep for Everest the next year.
Manaslu – 270 climbers!
Similar to Cho Oyu, Manaslu is regarded as attainable and in recent years has seen a dramatic increase in traffic with the closures on Cho Oyu.
According to the Himalayan Times, there are 135 foreigners with permits this year from 11 teams including Adventure Peaks, Adventure Consultants, 7 Summits Club, Seven Summit Treks, Summit Climb, Satori Adventures, Mountain Experience, Climbalaya Treks, Ascent Himalaya, Himalayan Guides and Snowy Horizon Treks.
With almost the same number of Sherpas and support staff as foreigners, it will be quite crowded once again in 2017.
In 2016 Seven Summits Treks, the dominate Nepali owned and based guide service, posted they had 130 members and Sherpas for the 2016 season including a 60 member Chinese team. This is astounding in that the largest year ever, 2011, Manaslu saw 140 total summits. Since 1956, Manaslu has had 980 total summits.
Himalayan Experience is also running a trip in 2017 along with several other western companies. Himex has been guiding Manaslu since 2008.
Rain on Manaslu
There has been a theme the past few days – drizzle, rain, persistent rain, driving rain, wet rain, proper rain and most recently snow. It has rained consistently for 4 days now and today is the first time that we have ventured outside our little camping area.
Having explored the lower valley, it was finally time for us to make the hike up to base camp. We were pretty lucky because we had an early start so it only mizzled on us as we trekked up to base camp and it was only after lunch it properly started to rain. The overhead conditions were better than the underfoot conditions. Mud. In Fact mud and a combination of yak and horse poop. We were caked in it by the time we got to base camp. A pair of wellie boots were probably more appropriate if the truth were known. Despite both overhead and underfoot conditions, the trek to base camp was fantastic. Initially through the rhododendrons and then up the steep slopes and ridges which took us to base camp.
Base camp is big – which is probably a very good thing judging by the amount of teams that will be attempting Manaslu this season. We didn’t really see much the first couple of days due to the low cloud and rain (have I mentioned that?) and today has been the first opportunity to explore camp. We are somewhere in the middle and every hour it is changing, with tents being erected left, right and centre.
We have yet to see the sun and we are yet to see Manaslu. We are just passing time to be honest, letting our bodies acclimatize. Phil is already on his 4th book and Roberto, who says that he never sleeps back home, has done nothing but sleep. Nothing has happened above base camp as far as we are aware so our progress is hampered until the weather clears up and the mountain can start to be worked upon. Until that happens, we’ll just be chilling out to the best of our abilities.
Dhaulagiri – 7 Climbers
78-year-old Spanish climber Carlos Soria Fontan will be on Dhaulagiri trying to complete his quest to summit all 14 of the 8000 meter peaks.
He posted on Facebook:
The rains have finally stopped in the dhaulagiri!
The #expedicióncorreos has gone out today to [camp] 1 AND 2 to spend three days of acclimatisation.
Here you are preparing the high food, an important task, because you have to choose well; because in addition to providing the maximum energy you also have to motivate and raise your appetite, because, with height, this one loses a little .
He attempted Dhaulagiri in the spring of this year but was turned back by weather. If he summits Dhaulagiri, he will only have Shishapangma, the only 8000er fully located in Tibet, to summit. His seven person team is the only team on Dhaulagiri this autumn.
Everest/Lhotse – ?? climbers
There are reports of Lhotse attempts this season but no reported teams attempting Everest from Nepal but I never say never when it comes to Everest. As I previously mentioned China has closed all climbing in Tibet, this includes Everest for that side.
Best of luck to all this autumn season.
Memories are Everything